Fay and Pat Shockley share their experiences through more than 50 years at First Christian Church of Beech Grove
Fay and Pat Shockley initially chose to attend First Christian Church of Beech Grove because it was close – about two or three miles from their home.
“Distance, that’s not enough to hold you there,” Pat said. “You find that it’s the house of God. You’re happy. As long as it’s a Christ-centered church, a God-centered church, you’re in a good place.”
The Shockleys have attended the Beech Grove church for more than 50 years, after they married in 1949. Their four children grew up in attendance at the church. The couple now has 15 grandchildren plus great-grandchildren.
Through their years at First Christian Church, Pat and Fay served as a Sunday School teachers, separately. Fay is an elder and previously served as chairman of the board. They say some of their most memorable times spent with their church family trace back to when they used to do outreach at Central State, a psychiatric treatment hospital in downtown Indianapolis. For nearly 40 years, approximately a dozen church members would visit the women’s building and take games, coffee and treats to eat. They would sing songs and always try to get the women involved. When the hospital closed in 1994, the women were invited to the church to continue participate in the activities. That eventually halted, but the church still hosts a Christmas party each year for them.
Although the couple had planned to test other churches to see what fit, after one visit at First Christian Church, they said they haven’t been anywhere else since. Pat said they continue to grow in their faith at the church, always learning different meanings behind the scripture.
“We have friends that we’ve had the whole length of the time we’ve been there and friends that have come along that are very precious to us,” Pat said.
What is it about your place of worship that helps you grow spiritually?
“It’s always the scripture first, the word of God.” – Pat
“They take an interest in a person. You always need to keep track of one another and make sure you’re on two feet. It’s the comradery of the people.” – Fay
What is it about your place of worship that helps you feel connected to your spouse, children, parents or family?
“Part of our family is there, in the same service, which is always wonderful, to be in worship with your family.” – Pat
“Our family there comes from love. Love comes from God. The love goes from families to people in the congregation.” – Fay
What is one meaningful event that has taken place at your place of worship?
“The communion – every time when we take communion together. On a personal note, on our 50th wedding anniversary we renewed our vows there. That was six years ago in May, though our anniversary is June.” – Pat
Why would you recommend your place of worship to someone?
“It’s a family church. If you need help, it’s there. We don’t hold you to a dress code or anything. It’s close by, if you live in Beech Grove.” – Pat
“Our church is a place you can come as you are, no matter what. Everyone’s happy to see everyone else. There are people you look forward to seeing every week. You’re concerned about people when they’re not there.” – Fay